All posts tagged: Christopher Nolan

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10 Movies…With a Replacement Actor in the Sequel (Like ‘Grown Ups 2’)

The big news surrounding Grown Ups 2, other than the fact that it’s yet another cynically-conceived way for Adam Sandler to hang out with his friends at a waterpark for two months, is that Sandler crony Rob Schneider is not returning from the first film. Replacing Schneider, who reportedly wanted more money, is Sandler crony Nick Swardson, who gets a bigger role than he usually does. Here are ten other movie sequels that Darrin Stevensed us and replaced an actor with another actor and hoped we wouldn’t notice. Iron Man 2 Evidently Terrence Howard was the first major actor to sign on for the first Iron Man, before it was a known entity as a franchise, and as such was the highest paid actor. In negotiating for the sequel, his pay was cut, Howard’s agents said no, and Don Cheadle was cast as Rhodey. The Dark Knight With her long courtship, marriage, and be-childing with couch-jumping Tom Cruise generating a certain amount of unwelcome tabloid attention happening in between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, …

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10 Movies…That Are Reboots Of Really Old Pop Culture (Just Like the New ‘Lone Ranger’ Movie)

A new big-screen version of The Lone Ranger comes out this weekend, starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow as Tonto. It looks less like a faithful adaptation of the Western saga that thrilled your great-great-grandfather as a little boy in front of the magic sound box, and more a vehicle for Johnny Depp to act goofy and the delight the fuck out of everybody once again. That’s because rebooting The Lone Ranger, which premiered on radio in 1933 and TV in 1949, is a hard sell. Yeah, Hollywood is reboot crazy these days, but they tend to go after known entities from the last 20 years or so (Man of Steel is a rare exception, but that’s SUPERMAN, you guys). Here are 10 other movies that paved the way for Disney’s cautious attempt at a modern, big-screen update of a popular franchise that began in radio, comics, film serials, or pulp novels in the early 20th century. The Legend of the Lone Ranger Clayton Moore was deeply associated with the role of John Reid/the Lone …

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Current Events: Rising in the Dark

I can’t write this article. Not the one I am supposed to write. See, I was meant to write about the film The Dark Knight Rises and how it reflected and refracted the book I read this week, the excellent and elegant poetry chapbook Bat & Man; something about the durability of the Batman character, the way he is mutable enough to invite and support a variety of allegorical readings, the way his myth can be expressed in comics, films, and even a sonnet cycle. But there are as many as fourteen people dead now in Aurora, Colorado, shot dead in the dark by a gunman whose true motive we will not, cannot ever understand, because we are sane and rational and fully human — maybe not fully functional, all of us, but able to get along in society — and he is hideously broken inside, broken enough to think it is a fine idea to set off tear gas in a packed theater and start firing randomly into the suddenly panicked crowd. That’s an …

Blu-ray Review: “Inception”

Inception (Warner Bros., 2010) For all the high-tech gewgaws that help modern Hollywood filmmakers get their visions to the screen, we’re living in a depressingly undemanding time for cinema — and the summer blockbuster slate, traditionally stuffed with sequels and CGI-fueled action thrillers, is the most brain-dead season of all. Thank goodness, then, for Christopher Nolan, who refuses to treat filmgoers like children — and thank goodness for Inception, which, in the summer of The A-Team, Grown Ups, and The Last Airbender, gave us a movie worth talking about after it was over. Now that we’ve had a few months to debate what that ending meant, how does it hold up on DVD and Blu-ray? Synopsis: Acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan directs an international cast in an original sci-fi actioner that travels around the globe and into the intimate and infinite world of dreams. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind …

Popdose 2010: Dw. Dunphy’s Top Albums

2010 was a difficult year for music, despite there being so much of it to choose from. Some high profile albums made no mark on me, while some that crept in under doorway became obsessions. There were albums from other years that arrived and had the same effect, but for the purposes of this rundown, I have focused solely on releases from the calendar year 2010. So here we go! 10. TIE – How I Got Over – The Roots: It’s become a mantra around here – The Roots can do anything they want. On this album, they prove it once again. Something for Everybody – Devo: All Devo had to do was sound like themselves without flaccidly mimicking their older material. Amazingly, they pulled it off. 9. We’re Here Because We’re Here – Anathema: It doesn’t matter that they’re light years away from their black metal roots. Anathema’s return brings beauty, guitar firepower, positive energy and an incredible track like “Dreaming Light” to an already transformative discography. 8. Heaven Is Whenever – The Hold …

No Concessions: “Inception,” Conception, and Other Mysteries of Life

There’s an upside and a downside to writing about a movie like Inception after it’s been in release for several weeks. The advantage, for me, is that you may very well have seen it, and that means, no plot summary—this should help. The disadvantage, of course, is coming up with something fresh to say about a movie that’s now sunk to its third or fourth weekend of cine-dreaming, displaced by Steve Carell and Will Ferrell flicks. Truth be told, I have no earth-shaking, world-beating theory about “what it all means.” Maybe that’s where to start: For me, the movie was more Homer’s Odyssey than Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the simple story of a guy trying to reunite with his kids, with a few modern touches. Like, you know, vans falling slowly into the water, and Paris folding in on itself, and other phenomenon brought to you via the miracle of parallel editing (get that Oscar polish ready, Lee Smith). The whole infamous spinning top thing at the end? Just Christopher Nolan giving us a …

CD Review: “Inception: Music from the Motion Picture”

Warner Bros. Records sent me Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack to this week’s much-anticipated blockbuster Inception. Cards on the table: While I certainly respect writer-director Christopher Nolan, I wasn’t crazy about The Dark Knight, and his reputation is overinflated by his biggest devotees. But that was so 2008, and I’m moving on. Except for this: Anyone who calls him “Kubrickian” hasn’t seen enough Kubrick to make the comparison. I’m reading a lot of that these days, and it bugs me. There’s more to Kubrick’s resume than The Shining or 2001, the usual points of reference, and Nolan may never make, or want to make, a Lolita or a Dr. Strangelove. From what I gather Nolan is happy just to be able to mount these big-scale fantasies, which is fine as far as it goes; they’re smart and classy, especially by the degraded standards of the rest of the funhouse, and occasionally thrilling when he eases up on the pretension. That makes him a good fit for filmmaking at this magnitude, and I have a rooting interest in …

Blu-ray Review: “Insomnia”

Its Blu-ray debut is timed to take advantage of the hubbub surrounding director Christopher Nolan’s latest film, but 2002’s Insomnia would make for a fine summer reissue even if Warner Bros. weren’t already pimping the highly anticipated Inception — to watch Al Pacino trudging around the Alaskan wilderness while you’re sweating through one of the hottest nights of the year is to be reminded that cooler winds will soon prevail. A remake of Erik Skjoldbjærg’s film of the same name, Insomnia appears, on the surface, to be your standard crime thriller, transplanted to the icy tundra — as it opens, you’ve got a pair of LAPD detectives flying into a small Alaskan town to assist in a murder investigation. This is Nolan, though; even if what he’s showing you is exactly as it seems, you know there’s some rich subtext running beneath the frame. Here, it’s a subplot about an internal affairs investigation targeting the detectives, and the conflict that arises when one partner (Hap Eckhart, played by Martin Donovan) decides to cut a deal …

How Bad Can It Be?: “Batman Year 100”

My primary brief, with How Bad Can It Be?, is to look at media product that for whatever reason — an unpromising premise, a poisoned reputation, a creator’s track record — gives me no reason to expect that it’ll be any good, and to try to give that work the benefit of the doubt. But occasionally, something comes along that, on paper at least, should work. The question then becomes, “What went wrong?” Such is the case with Paul Pope‘s Batman: Year 100 (DC Comics). The Batman, of course, is a hugely iconic property, and it’s easy to see why. Through all the various artistic takes and interpretations he remains a strangely inspirational figure; he’s One Man making A Difference, overcoming the trauma of his origins to recast himself as a protector of the weak, with no powers but his own indomitable will. For all that he is a terrifying badass, the Batman is perhaps the most lovable of superheroes, and his hard-edged altruism has proved a durable storytelling engine. And Paul Pope? He’s your …